The Review and Herald

94/1902

July 28, 1874

The Temptation of Christ

EGW

Christ was not in as favorable a position in the desolate wilderness to endure the temptations of Satan as was Adam when he was tempted in Eden. The Son of God humbled himself and took man's nature after the race had wandered four thousand years from Eden, and from their original state of purity and uprightness. Sin had been making its terrible marks upon the race for ages; and physical, mental, and moral degeneracy prevailed throughout the human family. RH July 28, 1874, par. 1

When Adam was assailed by the tempter in Eden he was without the taint of sin. He stood in the strength of his perfection before God. All the organs and faculties of his being were equally developed, and harmoniously balanced. RH July 28, 1874, par. 2

Christ, in the wilderness of temptation, stood in Adam's place to bear the test he failed to endure. Here Christ overcame in the sinner's behalf, four thousand years after Adam turned his back upon the light of his home. Separated from the presence of God, the human family had been departing every successive generation, farther from the original purity, wisdom, and knowledge which Adam possessed in Eden. Christ bore the sins and infirmities of the race as they existed when he came to the earth to help man. In behalf of the race, with the weaknesses of fallen man upon him, he was to stand the temptations of Satan upon all points wherewith man would be assailed. RH July 28, 1874, par. 3

Adam was surrounded with everything his heart could wish. Every want was supplied. There was no sin, and no signs of decay in glorious Eden. Angels of God conversed freely and lovingly with the holy pair. The happy songsters caroled forth their free, joyous songs of praise to their Creator. The peaceful beasts in happy innocence played about Adam and Eve, obedient to their word. Adam was in the perfection of manhood, the noblest of the Creator's work. He was in the image of God, but a little lower than the angels. RH July 28, 1874, par. 4

In what contrast is the second Adam as he entered the gloomy wilderness to cope with Satan single-handed. Since the fall the race had been decreasing in size and physical strength, and sinking lower in the scale of moral worth, up to the period of Christ's advent to the earth. And in order to elevate fallen man, Christ must reach him where he was. He took human nature, and bore the infirmities and degeneracy of the race. He, who knew no sin, became sin for us. He humiliated himself to the lowest depths of human woe, that he might be qualified to reach man, and bring him up from the degradation in which sin had plunged him. RH July 28, 1874, par. 5

“For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” RH July 28, 1874, par. 6

“And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” RH July 28, 1874, par. 7

“Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.” RH July 28, 1874, par. 8

“For we have not a High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” RH July 28, 1874, par. 9

Satan had been at war with the government of God, since he first rebelled. His success in tempting Adam and Eve in Eden, and introducing sin into the world, had emboldened this arch foe, and he had proudly boasted to the heavenly angels that when Christ should appear, taking man's nature, he would be weaker than himself, and he would overcome him by his power. He exulted that Adam and Eve in Eden could not resist his insinuations when he appealed to their appetite. The inhabitants of the old world he overcame in the same manner, through the indulgence of lustful appetite and corrupt passions. Through the gratification of appetite he had overthrown the Israelites. He boasted that the Son of God himself who was with Moses and Joshua was not able to resist his power, and lead the favored people of his choice to Canaan; for nearly all who left Egypt died in the wilderness. Also the meek man, Moses, he had tempted to take to himself glory which God claimed. David and Solomon, who had been especially favored of God, he had induced, through the indulgence of appetite and passion, to incur God's displeasure. And he boasted that he could yet succeed in thwarting the purpose of God in the salvation of man through Jesus Christ. RH July 28, 1874, par. 10

In the wilderness of temptation Christ was without food forty days. Moses had, on especial occasions, been thus long without food. But he felt not the pangs of hunger. He was not tempted and harassed by a vile and powerful foe, as was the Son of God. He was elevated above the human. He was especially sustained by the glory of God which enshrouded him. RH July 28, 1874, par. 11

Satan had succeeded so well in deceiving the angels of God, and in the fall of noble Adam, that he thought that in Christ's humiliation he should be successful in overcoming him. He looked with pleased exultation upon the result of his temptations and the increase of sin in the continued transgression of God's law for more than four thousand years. He had worked the ruin of our first parents, and brought sin and death into the world, and had led to ruin multitudes of all ages, countries, and classes. He had, by his power, controlled cities and nations until their sin provoked the wrath of God to destroy them by fire, water, earthquakes, sword, famine and pestilence. By his subtlety and untiring efforts he had controlled the appetite and excited and strengthened the passions, to so fearful a degree, that he had defaced, and almost obliterated the image of God in man. His physical and moral dignity were in so great a degree destroyed, that he bore but a faint resemblance in character, and noble perfection of form, to dignified Adam in Eden. RH July 28, 1874, par. 12

At the first advent of Christ, Satan had brought man down from his original, exalted purity, and had dimmed the fine gold with sin. He had transformed the man, created to be a sovereign in Eden, to a slave in the earth, groaning under the curse of sin. The halo of glory, which God had given holy Adam, covering him as a garment, departed from him after his transgression. The light of God's glory could not cover disobedience and sin. In the place of health and plentitude of blessings, poverty, sickness, and suffering of every type, were to be the portion of the children of Adam. RH July 28, 1874, par. 13

Satan had, through his seductive power, led men to vain philosophy to question and finally to disbelieve in divine revelation and the existence of God. He could look abroad upon a world of moral wretchedness, and a race exposed to the wrath of a sin-avenging God, with fiendish triumph that he had been as successful in darkening the pathway of so many, and had led them to transgress the law of God. He clothed sin with pleasing attractions to secure the ruin of many. RH July 28, 1874, par. 14

But his most successful scheme in deceiving man has been to conceal his real purposes, and his true character, by representing himself as man's friend and a benefactor of the race. He flatters men with the pleasing fable that there is no rebellious foe, no deadly enemy that they need to guard against, and that the existence of a personal devil is all a fiction. While he thus hides his existence, he is gathering thousands under his control. He is deceiving them, as he tried to deceive Christ, that he is an angel from Heaven doing a good work for humanity. And the masses are so blinded by sin that they cannot discern the devices of Satan, and they honor him as they would a heavenly angel, while he is working their eternal ruin. RH July 28, 1874, par. 15

(To be continued.)